Engineers concerned that government’s lack of proper leadership affects infrastructure development
CONSULTING Engineers South Africa (CESA) has emphasised that the South African government needs to set proper leadership in place. CESA argues that the lack of infrastructure development in South Africa is largely the result of a lack of leadership in government organisations. It says that at provincial and municipal level, there is a lack of general engineering skills and internal staff is not equipped to produce clear terms of reference or even assess the final tenders due to lack experience. This causes backlogs in the project process and spills over to the overall monitoring of deliverables.
However, in this case, the in-depth of experienced staff is not the only problem, declining infrastructure projects are hampered by inconsistency in management and top leadership, as a significant number of CEOs, directors-general and top management have been suspended because of alleged corruption.
Graham Pirie, CESA CEO, says this leads to top posts being under custodianship and the substitute person simply “gatekeeping” the position with absolutely no decision-making undertaken during that time. “It is time to sort out corruption and improve the process of procurement in the built environment; the private sector has a great deal of skills and experience and should be encouraged to assist government,” says Pirie.
CESA is also concerned about the resignation of CEOs and senior staff from various parastatals and government departments, coupled with the absence of clear succession plans or the announcement of incumbents. This causes uncertainty for its client market, which mostly comprises the public, as well as its own staff who become demoralised.